WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
Leonard Shelby (Pearce) has a problem: he can't make new memories. He suffers from a case of anterograde amnesia caused by a blow to the head after he witnesses his wife's murder. Aided by some notes, a Polaroid camera, clues tattooed to his body, and his suspicious friends Teddy (Pantoliano) and Natalie (Moss), Leonard is on a mission to avenge his wife and searches for the mysterious John G. who he believes killed her.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
When a movie surpasses Raiders of the Lost Ark in the Internet Movie Database's Top 250 Movies you know it has to be good. This movie is a cerebral masterpiece that is truly one of a kind. Nolan takes a typical man-seeks-vengeance story and turns it into a puzzle that builds upon itself throughout the movie and stays with you well after it's over. The main trick of the movie is that it runs in reverse chronology, each scene taking place before the last one, but it's up to you to figure out how the new developments in the past explain what you already know about the future. Guy Pearce is the perfect Leonard. Intelligent, resourceful, yet stuck in a world where he doesn't know if his friends are really his friends, or what he even did five minutes ago. And a testament to a great supporting cast is that you won't forget their names when the movie is over. Teddy, Natalie, Sammy Jankis, Dodd, etc...all will stick with you for a long time as you try to figure this movie out.
With its non-linear style and intricate plot, the movie only gets better and more understood after repeat viewing. Memento is really a tribute to good screenwriting as its the tight script that drives the movie. There are no special effects, no big-name actors, and even the camera work and soundtrack are really subtle. It will be interesting to see how Memento fares on dvd, video, and eventually TV. In the movie theater, the screen has your undivided attention, but at home the viewer will have to lock themselves in a dark room to keep up with this brain drainer of a flick.
This single-disc Memento dvd is not a special edition by any means, but still has enough extras to keep fans happy. The dvd doesn't have a any commentary tracks, deleted scenes, or outtakes - but this might be a good thing since everyone has a different interpretation of Memento that could be spoiled if the director and cast gave us their version of what happens. Included on the disc, though, is a 22-minute interview with Nolan by the Independent Film Channel (IFCtv.com) which focuses mostly on the genesis of the movie and what it was like for Nolan to move into the big leagues from his first low-budget film The Following. He talks about the short story his brother, Jonathan, wrote for Esquire in '91 which gave him the idea for the film. This story, called "Memento Mori", is included on the dvd but is long enough to make reading it on your TV screen a little boring. I suggest going to JoBlo's Movie Scripts and downloading it from there.
One of the coolest things about this dvd are its menus. When you navigate through to the different areas you encounter fake menus, fading menus, and the menus even appear backwards sometimes! It's pretty freaky in practice and gives you a Leonard-like experience for second. More dvd extras include a tattoo gallery comparing Leonard's tattoos from the movie to an artist's conceptual drawings. The disc also includes a trailer and TV spot for Memento and a trailer for Nolan's first film The Following. The obligatory cast and director bios round out the special features on this dvd along with a copy of the Flash version of the Memento website.
Easter Egg: Go to special features then to the Memento website. Move to highlight the word "Questions" in the title, then when it asks "Who did I kill" move right. It will give you a list of the people, all of which forward you back to the main website except one. Clicking on the one Leonard killed in the movie will show you the dvd credits. Who might this be? Excited yet?
All in all, this is a great dvd to add to your collection. Fire up the dvd player and fire up your brain neurons - you'll be working for this experience. You'll want to watch this movie at least twice to pick up on everything, then invite a friend over and watch it again. In a year where almost all of the movies let us down (mostly because of cheesy predictable Hollywood scripts), we can only hope more films like Memento arrive in the theaters.